BRADENTON -- A Save-A-Lot grocery store catering to the needs of downtown shoppers and residents could soon be opening at the site of the old 13th Avenue Community Center.
Right now there is a need for a grocery store downtown, said Timothy Polk, interim director of Bradentons Central Community Redevelopment Agency.
He said the store would benefit not only those who live in the CCRAs district, but also downtown residents and employees, such as those at Manatee Memorial Hospital.
The store would be located at 201 13th Ave. W., near U.S. 41/U.S. 301.
Save-A-Lot has not committed absolutely, said Paul Rutledge, executive vice president of Casto, the real estate company working on the project. They have not signed a lease at this point. Its still tentative.
Rutledge said the citys approval of planning, zoning, and code requirements were still needed before the project could move forward. Construction could take anywhere from eight to 12 months, he said.
Our goal is to open by next year, Rutledge said.
Due to its triangular shape, the area is marginally attractive, said Rutledge, making it challenging to secure a tenant.
A town hall meeting to discuss the possible store is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at the City Hall Council Chambers.
Polk said the potential Save-A-Lot would have an urban format setting, meaning that it would be smaller than a typical grocery store; friendly to pedestrians with the store placed in front and the parking spaces in the back; and carry particular products that the community wants.
They will work closely making sure that they accommodate people that walk there, Polk said.
The store would be about 16,000 to 20,000 square feet and would need to follow the citys form-based codes when it comes to landscaping, parking and transparency standards, he said.
Save-A-Lot, a grocery chain with almost 1,200 stores nationwide, has a store about three miles away, one in Palmetto and two in Sarasota, according to its website.
The project could cost about $5 million and funds would come mostly from the private sector, Rutledge said. About $2 million in federal and state aid also will be available, he said.
Polk said he hoped residents would attend the town hall meeting and voice the specific kinds of products they would be interested in purchasing at the store.
The idea is to promote healthy living and food, Polk said. The grocery store will have good produce and good meat selections.
He said the CCRA may consider applying for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a federal grant program that provides development assistance to businesses and organizations that bring healthy foods to under-served areas.
Harold Byrd Jr., the city council member representing the area where the grocery store would be built, said he believes the business could serve as a catalyst for future development and would economically benefit the area.
We are talking about jobs during the construction phase, which we are pushing to be local, and other jobs available when it opens for business, Byrd said. I think its great.
Miriam Valverde, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024.